Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blue Funk - Blue Note Series

Blue Note's "Blue Funk" is absolutely chock-full of soul/jazz/funk magic. Don't come looking for any lightweight stuff, 'cause this 2001 release is no joke...this is the real spirit of funk; down, dirty, and transcendent. If you prefer your funk on the more jazzy tip, as opposed to a more "rock" or "pop" style, then this may be your new favorite compilation. "Blue Funk" is all about swirling b3 organ, greasy, TIGHT horn lines, shifting rhythmic funk patterns, flying bongos, tight, tight, TIGHT rhythm guitar, and the ALL-MIGHTY drum & bass GROOVE. Tightness really is key here, as it's the tightness that keeps things fresh and prevents the whole excursion from being weighed down by repetition and sloppiness, which is the downfall of some funk music. The funky format here also prevents too much decadent, ponderous soloing (while there is a place for such exploration, this is not it). The music on "Blue Funk" is about the beat, the forward-motion of the rhythm, and the sustained buoyancy of the groove. The groove here, by the way, achieves the enormous feat of being heavy and deep, as well as clean and crisp...simultaniously. I've enjoyed several of the Blue Note "blue" compilations, notably the "Blue N' Groovy," "Blue Breakbeats," and "So Blue, So Funky" sets, and as great as they are, they CAN be a little uneven. "Blue Funk," on the other hand, is so rhythmically engaging, so absolutely cohesive and refreshing that it never, EVER gets old. The choice of tunes here is phenomenal. Some of these grooves, such as the friendly old-school shuffle of "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" may be permanently etched into your DNA, and you'll be a better person for it. In the end, there is so much flawless music out there to be grooved to, that the eclectic listener has precious little time for anything but the cream, and the CREAM is what's delivered here. "Blue Funk" is the best of the best of the best. For me, there is no better single-disc, various artist collection of jazzy instrumental funk, period. What a great collection!

Who Dun It? - Blue Mitchell 2. Say It Loud (I'm Black And I'm Proud) - Lou Donaldson 3. Cissy Strut - Big John Patton 4. Ease Back - Grant Green 5. Hunk O' Funk - Jack McDuff 6. Tic Tac Toe - Candido 7. Down Home Funk - Richard "Groove" Holmes 8. Cantaloupe Woman - Grant Green 9. I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I'll Get It Myself) - Grant Green 10. Don't Knock My Love - Ronnie Foster 11. If There's A Hell Below - Lou Donaldson 12. Bambu - Reuben Wilson 13. Family Affair - Bobby Hutcherson


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